Holidays are seldom relaxing when you’re picturing how much it’s going to cost you, physically and financially to get the kids packed up and en route to what’s supposed to be a ‘holiday’, but you’ll be pleased to know, the research on the best holiday deals for families has already been done for you…
Australian Traveller director Quentin Long’s job is to know about the best deals in the market, and sometimes he shares. Like this morning on the Today Show, where he divulged to Karl and Deb his recommendations for an Aussie family holiday this Easter, based on the best deals in town.
For something different, the outback is starting to cool down and all that rain will make it a spectacular sight.
In reality if you are looking to book, the choices are limited so look at the old favourites where there are enough rooms to be able to give you some chance of landing a last-minute bargain. That means the Gold and Sunshine Coasts are where you’re more likely to get availability.
So for the Sunshine Coast, a great option is the Novotel Twin Waters resort. It’s a tremendous family resort. Its toddler-friendly lagoon and water park are just the beginning with the surf beach not far away. You can pick up a family room for four from just $132 per night.
Broadbeach is less crazy than Surfers Paradise and a little more refined. The Voyager Resort is well positioned near the beach, shops and restaurants and – being apartment-style – every room has a kitchen. Great for families who can feed themselves and keep the costs down. It’s a great value option for the school holidays from $189 a night.
Closer to the buzz of Cavill Avenue and Surfers Paradise, The Island resort is perfectly situated on the Nerang River but only a three-minute stroll to the heart of Cavill Avenue. Rooms are from $145 per night.
The NSW north coast is a lot more relaxed. Good ol’ Coffs Harbour has the best climate in Australia and is perfect for a low-key, affordable family holiday. Not just for travelling salesmen, the Best Western Zebra may be just off the Pacific highway but is great value at $165 a night for a family of four in the school holidays.
It’s hard to believe but Australia’s most famous surfing town, Torquay, still has availability – and it won’t require a second mortgage. The Wyndham Resort is very modern, opened at the end of 2011, and is the best place to stay in Torquay. This makes it incredible value for just $279 a night.
The Barossa Valley Discovery Park knows how to make it a memorable school holiday, with special programs for kids including movies most and loads of activities. There’s also a terrific waterpark, and with all this in the heart of one of Australia’s greatest wine regions, how could you be happier? Oh, here’s how – it’s only $61 for a campsite and cabins from $144 per night.
Perhaps totally ignored by anyone outside Australia, the Riverlands is probably worth a look for something different. The Lake Bonney Discovery Park does things differently, with a glow in the dark water park for starters. Also a bit different for caravans and trailers: it has ensuite powered sites. And for a final tick, it’s pet-friendly – so the kids won’t miss their favourite furry sibling and you won’t need to ask family and friends for a favour or rack up expensive kennel costs. Campsites from $61, cabins from $142 a night in the school holidays.
Bali is hard to beat and the QANTAS Holiday guys have an incredible offer; seven nights in a deluxe room at Bali’s Hard Rock Hotel for a family of four, including full breakfast for just $1565.
The guys at Wotif have a great deal for the Visesa. In the tranquil mountain rainforest town of Ubud the Visesa is a five-star property and just $225 a night. Venture across the water from Bali to the less frenetic Lombok and the comfortable Holiday Resort Lombok. The resort has free activities for kids, a kids’ pool, and a swim-up bar pool – everything you want from a relaxed low-key family holiday and at just $140 a night, it’s great value.
And just for something a little different, why not look at the Cook Islands? One of the most pristine tropical islands in the world. It’s what you imagine a tropical island paradise to be. The Edgewater is a slice of affordable family paradise on the edge of Raratonga. There’s a great five-night package for a family of four from Spacifica Travel for just $1699 which includes transfers, breakfast and the free kids club.
And finally, we all love a cruise. Carnival has a couple of great school holiday cruises to New Caledonia. Great family-friendly ships with waterslides and heaps of family activities, the departures are 13 April and 21 April for an eight-night South Pacific cruise for just $999 per person for an Ocean View room. That’s just $124 per person per night including meals and entertainment.